I found this great article on Pinterest the other day. To read the full article, click through here: http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/02/06/the-marketers-guide-to-pinterest/
But this is the main part I wanted to share here:
9 reasons why marketers should use Pinterest
If you are a community manager, early adopter or social media enthusiast, then the business value of Pinterest may be obvious to you. However, everyone else in marketing may not share your enthusiasm.
But how do you go about convincing them they should jump on board? Here are nine reasons your business should consider marketing on Pinterest.
- Shift in consumer behavior from search to discovery – Search is great for finding answers. Discovery is great for finding inspiration. Pinterest taps into that phenomenon. As Samil Shah explained on TechCrunch back in November, Pinterest is bringing some of that discovery online…which could lead to a revolution in how we purchase items. Right now we are trained to go to Amazon or Google to find what we want. Pinterest starts before that search, before we even thinking we want to buy a particular product. For example, if I wanted a sound system for my laptop, I might hop on to Pinterest, browse a category devoted to sound systems and then land on a product. Within that discovery phase, however, I may never end up at Amazon since Pinterest drives traffic back to a retailer’s site.
- Little interaction needed for brands – A legitimate concern for any brand considering jumping into a new social media platform is the resource question: do you have it in the budget to staff? The nice thing about Pinterest is there isn’t a lot of overhead. Outside of pinning, categorizing and tagging images, you don’t have to worry about managing comments or playing the follower game. You can push content at your own pace.
- Connect with the visual segment of your audience - Pinterest is visual. So it attracts an entirely different crowd…those who may have an appeal for an image over written words. Why is this important? Consider how content marketers typically engage their audiences…through words, videos or audio podcasts. You can open the doors to a new segment of buyers who may be interested in your product…but not know about it…by building a community around the images you pin. That can draw others in who are inspired by your account and lead to referrals.
- Inspires the shy content creator – Pinterest is allowing another segment of the online market get into the action. That segment is the lurker…the person who is too shy to create their own blog, comment on other social sites or contribute in any way online. Pinterest is best compared to Tumblr, where most Tumblrs do not create original content…but share, or “re-blog,” other content. Pinterest is a great way for people to express themselves without having to do anything original.
- Amplifies the content of original creators – The average Tumblr post gets reblogged 9 times. That means it’s reaching far more people than if it remained on its own site. While there aren’t numbers on Pinterest, you can assume the same thing…content is re-pinned and shared across a wider audience. So if you are an original content creator, sharing that content on Pinterest will amplify its reach.
- Repinning is the new “retweet” –It’s quite possible that you can build a community from simply sharing other people’s pins…the same way some Twitter power users have built a following off of retweeting or Tumblr users who’ve reblogged.
- Tap into niches – As I mentioned above, Pinterest will allow you to pick up on a different segment. You can take this idea of niche marketing further by creating boards specific to particular segments. For example, Crutchfield might create boards around “dream man caves,” “cool clubbing” and “ladies’ lounge,” which include reader-generated home-based sound systems in these themes.
- Build your expertise – Even if your brand doesn’t work seamlessly on Pinterest like a lifestyle company’s might, you can still use it to share your experience and build your expertise in a particular location, industry or relationships. A web strategist likeJeremiah Owyang might create boards around “must-have social media equipment for road warriors,” “top people to know in the web analytics business” or “places to eat when you attend Conference X.”
- It’s beating out Facebook referrals - Finally, perhaps one of the best reasons for using Pinterest in your social media marketing plans is that it is outperforming Facebook. The general manager of digital for the print magazine Real Life said that Pinterest was a huge source of traffic in October 2011…more than Facebook. Time to re-tool our marketing strategies, don’t you think?
Brands that will struggle to market on Pinterest
Don’t get me wrong…not every business is going to find using or promoting on Pinterest easy. It’s still pretty tightly-focused, so tech brands, for example are not going to find it very accommodating. In a recent article on TechCrunch, Sivan Cohen and Ben Lang share 7 Reasons Why Pinterest Isn’t Ready for Tech Brands. Here are the four most important reasons:
- Neither people nor brands are important – Pinterest emphasizes the pin…the image. Not the person nor even the board. The pin is what you will see first when you search.
- Tough to convert pinners into followers – A big global brand like Martha Stewart only has 22,000 plus followers, you would think she would have more. But for the most part, people will re-pin or like an image but won’t take the extra step of following. However, no surprise that Pinterest has close to 10 million. It helps that they re-pin the most popular pins everyday.
- You have to be creative if your brand isn’t visual – Lifestyle brands work well on Pinterest because what they do and how they promote it are identical. If you own a beach resort, all you have to do is show stunning pictures of the beach, your villas and the ocean. A tech brand like DropBox, however, can’t compete. One way to overcome this hurdle is to create boards around the people in the office…and pin images of their antics and adventures in and out of work…much like The Today Show does.
- Men don’t get Pinterest – It’s not hard to see why women dominate as users on Pinterest. Pinterest is a platform that attracts fashion, crafts and lifestyle images…natural favorites for women. I think it might be hard to imagine World of Warcraft or Craftsmanfeeling comfortable at Pinterest. Until then, tech brands will probably be limited on Pinterest.
14 strategies for marketing on Pinterest
First, warning: While it’s not a rule that will get you kicked off, Pinterest does suggest that you avoid self promotion when using the site:
If you come across spammy, the bigger danger is you’ll simply get ignored. Your self-promotion must appear native to the community if you want to drive traffic to your website/blog.
For instance, in Leo Burnett Worldwide’s slide share on Pinterest, he suggests:
- Whole Foods would pin about food.
- The Travel Channel would pin about travel.
- The Today Show would pin about access.
- Bergdorf Goodman would pin about fashion.
That’s what I mean by native. So how exactly should you market on Pinterest. Here are 12 common strategies:
- Online catalog – This is the most obvious example for a business with a physical product to sell. Gap has treated some of their boards this way. A jeweler might create boards for earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Don’t forget to add the price so you have the benefit of the price tag showing up on each image. And each image should drive the user back to the product description page of your website.
- Create user-generated boards – Since you can open up boards to other Pinterest pinners, create a board hosted for your followers. Then ask them to pin stuff in those boards based on that theme. For example, Amazon could create a board that allows users to pin books they’ve read and loved. Apple could create a board that allows users to share their favorite iPhone cases.
- Create a board devoted to your customers - Along the same lines as user-generated pins is the idea of a board in which you showcase some of your customers’ best pins. ModCloth gets the reward for this one.
- Create a testimonial board – A great way to leverage your customer and fan enthusiasm is to create a board dedicated to ways that your product or service has helped them. Say you are a financial coach…ask your followers to pin images of ways that you have made them wealthier. Leveraging testimonials is an excellent way for companies that don’t fit the lifestyle mode to use Pinterest.
- Pin about your event - If your brand or business is hosting an event, create a board around it and pin content leading up to the event. Social Media Examiner would be an ideal candidate with their Small Biz Success Summit. Boards could curate pins on topics related to the conference, profiles of the speakers and examples shared during the conference.
- Pin about a new product launch – Even though tech companies may struggle to use Pinterest, startups might find Pinterest a good place to connect until the product is released. Supyo might find that it can keep interest on high alert with a Pinterest account that has boards focused on “things developers love,” “antics in the office” and “videos that they love.”
- Offer exclusive discounts – The most direct way of promoting on Pinterest is to offer exclusive deals on products for your Pinterest followers. You can also pin a QR code with compelling content that will drive visitors straight to more description of a product. Local businesses could benefit by offering QR codes for iPhone users to bring into their stores for special discounts.
- Host a Contest – Suggest to your followers that they create boards on their accounts about your brand…and then pin images that reflect why they like you. Lands’ End created a holiday contest called “Pin It to Win It” that bridged other social media sites to generate interest in the contest…and ultimately in the company.
- Create a video gallery – Pinterest’s video capabilities offers a lot of options for folks who want to create tutorials or record segments of a conference they are holding. Because of the draw of the visual element to Pinterest, I could see a content marketer like Smashing Magazine leveraging video tutorials, giving lessons on CSS and Flash design. Again, this serves as another way to adopt your content and brand to a wider audience…and because of the re-blogging option, as the Pinterest user base grows, your chance for spreading content grows, too.
- Show the human side of your brand – Pinterest is great for having fun…and showing your customers that you can have fun. Or that you are quirky and that you are not all about the bottom line.Today Show pins pictures of funny things there anchors do. How could this work for you? Imagine you are a start up with a small staff…you could create boards for all of your employees, make them contributors and then allow them to share stuff that lets their personality shine. Pinterest is great for relationship management, leveraging the hopes, dreams and desire…not only of your customers…but your employees as well.
- Add watermarks to your images – It’s easy for images to get pulled and the original source to be forgotten on the web. Some of your content then could stop having the marketing impact you hoped to drive traffic back to your site. To keep that from happening add watermark to each image you post on Pinterest…or on your website. The watermark could be your web address or simply the name of your brand if it is easily recognizable.
- Raising awareness for non-profits – Among its efforts to alert people to endangered animals, The National Wildlife Federation also combines ideas for camping in your backyard and bringing attention and education to squirrels in their Squirrel Appreciation Day 1-21board where they shared a new photo for 21 days. Another non-profit, Amnesty International USA, is raising awareness on issues like human trafficking and the death penalty from their boards. One board shares inspiring quotes, while another gives a recommend reading list. Naturally all traffic is directed back to the site for donations.
- Use Pinterest as research marketing tool – A great way to crawl inside the minds of your customers is to crawl through Pinterest looking at what your fans are pinning. Remember, pinners are curating content that is important to them. A lot of the content revolves around major milestones in their lives…getting married, buying and decorating a home and having a baby…plus, things that inspire them.
- Use Pinterest as a minimum viable product - You can even treat your followers as a focus group by creating a board that revolves around an idea you have for a product…and then see how they react. Did you get a lot of comments? Repins? Likes? For example, Virgin Airlines might create a board dedicated to a new plane they want to test. In the board they would share pictures of seats, foods and even locations that the plane would travel to. Followers could then add items that they would prefer to see on the plane. You probably wouldn’t get enough statistically reliable data to build a plane, but from cost perspective, this would be an ideal way to get customer feedback.
9 ways to get Pinterest followers
While Lady Gaga might be able to pick up several million followers in a matter of months, mere mortals like us will probably not have such good luck.
But don’t let that frustrate you. Follow these 9 tips for encouraging people to follow you and who knows…maybe in a six month you’ll have several thousand followers.
- Re-pin what your customer’s are pinning – To attract the attention of particular followers, create a board in your account labeled “coolest re-pins” or something like that…and then start re-pinning the content that they are sharing on their accounts. This is a great way to make your account less about business…and more about the relationship…showing them you are actually taking the time to interact. A company using this strategy well is Whole Foods.
- Follow pinners/boards who/that fall in your target market– Basically, look for people who share the same interests as you do…and might be interested in what you do for a living. For example, if you are a photographer, then you would follow boards that are tagged “photography” or “weddings.” If you are a tech geek, follow people who enjoy science.
- Comment on pins – When you see a pin that you like, leave a comment with the pinner. Do this frequently and you will start to gain their attention. Don’t forget that you need to add value when you comment. “Great stuff!” doesn’t cut it.
- Create a pin that goes viral – Sharing pins is obviously the main way you would promote your brand. But content on Pinterest has the chance of going viral. If you share a pin that someone likes, they may “re-pin” it…in other words, they share it with their audience. The more people who re-pin an image, the longer it will stay on the popular page…getting more re-pins and follows.
- Use the 1/19 content sharing rule – Like my rule for Twittering promotional content, you should share 19 pins that are notpromoting you for every pin that is promotional. For instance, you may only want to share your very best blog posts on Pinterest. Or it could be an infographic or guest post you wrote for a big blog.
- Encourage people to share your content on Pinterest – You can grab Pinterest share buttons from their site and embed on your own. However, you may want to wait to do this until adoption of Pinterest grows and you’ve established it as a place where you are going to spend resources to maintain. I would recommend that you don’t overload your website with share options…people tend to get confused when there are so many options.
- Encourage people to follow you – You can also embed a Pinterest “Follow” icon for your website/blog.
- Tag popular pinners – You can get the attention of other pinners by including a “@mention” tag like Twitter in your caption. This will send a message to that user who may then pick up on what you are pinning and re-pin.
- Use hashtags – Like the other social media sites, hashtags work on Pinterest to help you gain attention across multiple platforms and build up a following during a marketing campaign. It also works in gaining followers in much the same way that it does on Instagram. On Instagram, if you include hash tags on your photos, you will appear in those popular searches.
My final tip is to use Pinterest as an individual rather than a company. This is probably why Martha Stewart has double the followers than Martha Stewart Living. You are more likely to get followed since people won’t have the suspicion that you are trying to sell something if your profile was a company.
How to optimize Pinterest for best SEO impact
From a web marketers stand point, the most valuable aspect of Pinterest is link building. As AJ Kumar pointed out the social and SEO value is obvious:
- Pinners can share content effortlessly – This leads to a high-probability for content to go viral, spreading across the network…muck like content on Tumblr.
- Each pin has a link pointing back to the original source – No matter how many times a pin was re-pinned…each pin is a unique link pointing back to the original source.
In addition, these are not “no follow” links. In other words, you get all the authority of Pinterest with each link back to your site. That could change as the popularity of the company grows…and joins the ranks of Twitter or Facebook…but in the meantime it proves useful when it comes to ranking.
Chris Silver Smith shared some great tips on Search Engine Land foroptimizing Pinterest for local search. Let me summarize some of the important points:
- Make your profile public – Do not hide your Pinterest profile behind a private setting…otherwise you will not get crawled by search engines.
- Include keywords in your About profile – Just like when you are creating a profile for Google+ or Twitter, your Pinterest profile should tell who you are, what you do and convey the main benefits to anyone who might follow you. Keywords are a must.
- Set your location as specific as possible – Share both the city and state in which you work to attract and draw local traffic.
- Connect your other social sites – Go the extra step and publish the other social sites you belong to…Twitter and Facebook being the most popular options. You can also add a subscribe button.
- Use a review page for business URL – If you have a really good review on a business directory like Yelp, use that URL for your company website on Pinterest. This can feed it authority to help that review rank high.
- Create boards around your keywords – Create a board about your city and pin pictures of your city in that board. Do the same with your service or product or event. Don’t forget to tag these pins with keywords.
- Promote infographics on Pinterest – Pinterest is highly-visual, so infographics work well for items you can pin. Have one professionally created…and then pin and promote.